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WILLIAM  VON  HUMBOLBT.                   307
on Humboldt.    We have already mentioned the eMef
persons of the Austrian cabinet, Metternich and
Gentz. Franz Schlegel was now3 also? in the Austrian
service, and lived in Vienna with his talented wife,
occupied in literary activity. "With Amsteins and
Caroline Pichler the Humboldts also associated. But
the chief of all the visitors was Alexander von Hum-
boldt. Scarcely had he published the first portion of
his descriptions, when he was already plaaming a
second great undertaking to central Asia and Thibet,
and repaired to Vienna in November, 18115 to take
leave of his family. The pl&n was., however, not then
executed, and Alexander returned to Paris, where he
was busy for several years with the publication of Ms
works. Another honoured guest was the Prussiain
Rittmeister, von Hedemann, a clever officer and
adjutant of the Prince William of Prussia; he subse-
quently became HumboldtJs son-in-law.
In Vienna Humboldt also found some leisure for
his favourite pursuits., and returned with redoubled
ardour to his philological studies, which he extended
more and more.    He determined now to publish Ms
Basque studies.    He was induced to do this by Pro-
fessor Vater, in Konigsber^ who had requested him
to furnish an essay on the Basque languages as an
appendix to his " Mithridabes."    Humboldt acceded
to this proposal, and at the same time determined to
treat the subject in a more extended form-
But the events of the day soon tore  Humboldt
from works of this kind, and with restless activity he
obeyed  all the  claims which his  important   official
position  made   upon him-    At the  time when
storm  lowered   which  spent  itself   in  the   I&usslaxt
campaign, Prussia's fate was at a crisis.    It condmiei.
the alliance with  Napoleon with more
than Austria.    But although it publicly obeyed the
will of the mighty one,  it secretly prepared 'for the
approaching definite struggle, especi^ly^bj an, affiance
with Austria.   It may be assumed thai}        foundation
of the great European alliaace7 aad oŁ tbe'imioa of the